Past Events

18 October 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

Legacy Shave

Mike Gutow, CEO and Co-Founder.  Shaving can be a chore, especially with today’s busy lifestyles. But, what if there was a way to have a better shaving experience and pamper your self at the same time? That’s the idea behind Legacy Shave and The Evolution Brush – a unique, patented technology brings that old-fashioned barber shop experience into your home. The Evolution Brush combines the feel and benefits of a traditional barber shop shaving brush (i.e., hands free shaving cream and a clean, close shave) with the convenience of modern shaving cream and gel shaving cans. Simply attach the shave brush to the can and enjoy the ultimate shaving experience – while traveling back to a more elegant time.

NEF Pitch Pit

Four entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The four entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Gina Adams-Levy.  Buttons to Button sells innovative accessories to help people with disabilities get dressed.
  • Beau Mann.  Sober Grid is a social network and peer coaching network for people with substance abuse disorder.
  • Robert Oklejas.  eScapes is a 24/7 relaxation television programming to transform stressful settings.
  • Nicolas Theoret,  Osci provides a noise and vibration monitoring system to improve the reliability and safety of autonomous vehicles.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Ted Dacko currently runs Arbor Dakota, a consulting company dedicated to helping early stage tech companies grow great ideas into great companies. He helps companies with their growth strategies and focuses on marketing strategy and sales discipline.   Prior to that he successfully managed HealthMedia for 10 years leading to a great exit with J&J.  This success was recently cited in Blue Ocean Shift as an example of using the Blue Ocean Strategy of creating "uncontested market spaces" in the healthcare sector. Ted is a frequent speaker and educator, specifically at the University of Michigan and at Ann Arbor SPARK.

Dr. Mai Iskandar-Datta is Professor of Finance at Wayne State University.  As an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Faculty Fellow, she teaches courses on the resources essential for the entrepreneur’s success and the various forms of financing the entrepreneur can access at different stages of growth. Students learn about the canvas business model, best structure of a pitch deck and pitch presentation, the term sheet, and how to value a start-up.  Her research interests in corporate finance include executive compensation, mergers and acquisitions, corporate restructuring, capital structure, initial public offerings of debt securities, to name a few.  She holds a BS, MBA and PhD from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Brian Kelly is the CEO of Censys, a company that continually monitors every reachable server and device on the Internet, so you can search for and analyze them in real time. Brian is a leader of A2 New Tech, one of the longest-running, largest attendance, tech startup events in the region.  Brian founded Third Rail, a boutique consultancy that helps software businesses position themselves for investment, growth, or acquisition. He also served as the VP of Product at Nutshell CRM and for three years he was the Principal Product Manager at Duo Security.  Brian holds a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Tech.

Rahul Mitra is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Communication at Wayne State University. His scholarship focuses on sustainable organizing, corporate social responsibility, leadership for social change, and how people find their work meaningful. He also teaches both undergraduate and graduate classes on leadership, small group communication, organizational communication, and qualitative research methods. His current research project examines the impact of entrepreneurial ecosystems on urban sustainability, especially in post-industrial cities like Detroit. Rahul has published more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and encylopedia entries till date, and has obtained several awards for his work. He holds a PhD in Organizational Communication from Purdue University, and a Master's in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from Bowling Green State University.

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

REGISTER

Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

20 September 2018

Doomed, Frustrated and Seeking Funding?

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

New Enterprise Forum invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to join us at our monthly Forum to connect with entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and businesses.

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community. Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

SmileBond

Dr. William C. Vuillemot, CEO and Founder.

SmileBOND Systems, LLC, is a Michigan based business which trains and equips dentists and their teams to deliver brilliant, gleaming smiles to their patients, using its proprietary multi-tooth bonding system. SmileBOND allows dentists to permanently transform smiles and bites in 2 visits with little to no tooth grinding required. Unlike the patient’s alternative options, SmileBOND’s injectable composite bonding materials are also easily reparable and cost less.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Doomed, Frustrated and Seeking Funding?

In Addition, we have a panel of experts who will guide you through current trends in funding, especially funding the early stage deals.

Have you ever wondered what the right steps are to raise startup capital? When you feel "Doomed, Frustrated" and continue to seek funding deals, you don't see too many options. Our experienced panel will 'tell all' the ins and outs of the funding opportunities and challenges in the deal process in this don't miss panel discussion.

We intend to discuss various options available to raise money for your startup. In this month's forum, we want to focus on what founders can do to raise startup capital above and beyond traditional sources of investments. We hope that this will be of greater interest and value to founders and it will be a dynamic discussion between investors, founders and the audience.

Panel:

We have an outstanding panel of investors and entrepreneurs. 

Herbert (Herb) E. Gibson, Jr., GAPro System, Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Herb Gibson is Founder and CEO of GAPro, the data sharing Verification-as-a-Service platform. GAPro, named by Insurance Thought Leadership as one of the “Six Startups to Watch” delivers significant new capabilities while reducing both costs and errors associated with legacy certificate of insurance form based approaches. GAPro’s ecosystem provides all insurance stakeholders (carriers, agent/brokers, insured and third-parties) with secure self-service access to their insurance information, providing real-time and ongoing insurance confirmation and compliance verification globally. Additionally, GAPro can provide new customers and sources of revenue for carriers and agent/brokers alike.

Herb has overall responsibility for strategic direction and operations. His unique mix of pragmatic entrepreneurial technology and insurance experience positions GAPro towards significant growth and customer engagement. His experience includes founder of ITG Advisors (a commercial lines insurance agency), President/CEO for Aversien Science (risk management technology company) and Vice-President of Meadowbrook Insurance Group. A native of Detroit, Herb graduated from and played football for Notre Dame under the tutelage of Coach Lou Holtz. Herb received his Masters of Science in Management from Walsh.

Patricia Glaza, Venture and Managing Director, Invest Detroit Ventures

Patti joined Invest Detroit in 2014 with more than 20 years of experience in the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced technologies. She manages Invest Detroit’s venture funds and portfolio of investments. Patti leverages her broad industry relationships and operational experience to serve as a resource to nurture and promote technology startup companies. Prior to joining Invest Detroit, Patti was with Arsenal Venture Partners, a multi-stage national venture capital firm focused on IT, energy and industrial technologies.

Fares Ksebati, Co-Founder & CEO

Fares is the CEO of MySwimPro, a technology and media company that creates mobile and wearable applications that help swimmers around the world improve their performance and health. He is a former collegiate swimmer, U.S. Masters swimming national champion and American Swim Coaches Association Fellow. MySwimPro has received international accolades including being named the Best App of the Year by Apple and has been featured in Sports Illustrated. The company has secured partnerships with CASIO, Strava and the Global Swim Series with a growing international subscriber base. His team successfully raised a round of equity crowdfunding that included over 150 angel investors and venture capitalists meanwhile doubling their conversion rate to premium subscribers. MySwimPro has grown revenue by more than 40% for the last 7 consecutive quarters.

Moderator

Stewart V. (Stew) Nelson
If you are active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in SE Michigan, it is likely that you have met Stew Nelson. Stew is past Board President of the New Enterprise Forum, NEF. He is a serial entrepreneur with Founder’s title in Mayasil, LLC, GAPro Systems, Adrelenventis, LLC, Solidspeed Networks and Geostrip Systems just to mention a few.  As an active angel investor, he has ownership equity positions in Blaze Medical Devices, Sentinl, SurClean, Catalyst, Family Mint, among others. Stew is a retired pilot with over 30 years of military and commercial experience and more recently as a commercial insurance professional with Kapnick Insurance Group.

Not satisfied with retirement three times now, Stew is currently serving as CEO of Mayasil, LLC.  Stew is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, BA, 69 and Eastern Michigan University, MBA 92.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

The event is FREE. Registration is not required but recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

16 August 2018

Summer Break - No Forum in August

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Our next Forum event will be on 20 September 2018 as we will be taking a break from our normal Forum schedule for August. However, that does not mean we are taking a break from NEF coaching or participating in other entrepreneurial events around the area.

We are extending to you, our NEF Supporters, a huge thank you and hope to see you again at the September Forum meeting. Details will be posted after returning from our brief respite.

26 July 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Past Presenter Update

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques i sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

This month Workit Health will present their story and give us an update since they initially presented in September 2015 as NEF Showcase Presenter.

Workit Health

Workit Health makes digital substance abuse recovery programs. Workit Health provides the following products and services:
1)  Workit Core- 90 day program for addictive behaviors    
2)  Workit Clnic- 2 year program for opioid use disorders including telepsychiatry

Presently company's flagship product “Workit Clinic” is live in the b2b and d2c markets. The Workit Program competes primarily based on its on ¬demand access to 24/7 therapeutic support from triggering moments for risky drinkers and and on-demand access to care teams of counselors and prescribing clinicians enabling home-based rehab. Clients include Steelcase, Honigman, and Salesforce.

Over the past 2 years, the company has treated 1300 patients both in person and online and 91.07% of the current patient load have attended 4 or more appointments. While the patient retention rates remain high, the conversion rates of potential patients continue to grow by an average of 10% each month.

Lisa McLaughlin is a social entrepreneur and the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Workit Health, a telehealth addiction care company creating a home-based rehab program for drinking and drug use backed by the National Science Foundation. She is the recipient of the TechWeek Detroit Technology Woman of the Year award for 2017. Lisa serves as a Desai Accelerator Mentor for early stage technology companies and as an advisor to a number of biotech startups.

Lisa has held leadership positions at some of world’s most respected digital health and learning companies. She developed one of the first social sector technology service models in the health informatics space and has facilitated a wide range of learning innovation labs for foundations (Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation) and universities. She has extensive training and experience in addiction research, crisis referral, alcohol and drug treatment aftercare, wilderness therapy, disaster response, and college completion. Lisa was previously an Innovation Fellow at the University of Michigan School of Information building social impact programs at the intersection of information science and social innovation (MSI/MSW).

NEF Pitch Pit

Three entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The three entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Efay Guo.  SeeU is an on-demand mobile app that allows users to join or create any activities in less than 20 seconds and meet people and make friends within 1 hour.
  • Adrian Lorenzi. TOTAGO is a transportation-focused web and mobile application for outdoor recreation.
  • Sergio Rodriguez.  ToDoolie is an online platform for high school and college students to find work in their neighborhood.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Angela Kujava is the Managing Director of Desai Accelerator, which works with early stage tech startups to drive relentlessly toward achieving their first $1 Million. She also serves as a mentor to the startups in Desai's programs, and works closely with the region’s business and campus communities to further existing relationships for the benefit of not only the participating startups but also the broader entrepreneurial landscape. Prior to Desai, Angela was the Director of Innovation at a global software development firm, where she led the marketing, creative, and eCommerce teams. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, creative strategy, content writing and management, and public speaking.

Debra Christein is a partner with B2B CFO.  With 30 years’ experience working with privately owned businesses on the financial management of their businesses, she brings a wealth of expertise and experience to business owners that need solutions and plans to move their businesses forward. She works with business owners on managing immediate needs and/or planning for long-term needs and business transition.  Her services include improving cash flow, setting up the finance structure and procedures to support growing businesses and creating models to guide decisions about operations management and strategic direction.   Debra earned her MBA at the University of Michigan.

 

Hank Brown has been actively involved with supporting a number of startup businesses. His area of expertise has been in supporting healthcare startups with initial commercialization efforts and managing product development using his healthcare contacts to provide early customer feedback and of course every startup needs help with investor pitch development for raising capital. Working as coach and mentor has also provided an opportunity to serve as a board advisor and board member to a few companies.  These include Surgical Solutions, Stryker and Tangent Medical, a UofM spinout that was sold to ICU Medical in 2016.  Hank earned a BS in Math from York University.

 

Pete Benedetto is the Manager of Entrepreneur Selection & Growth at Endeavor Detroit, the Detroit chapter of an international organization that promotes economic growth by selecting, mentoring, and accelerating entrepreneurs of high-growth, scalable companies.  He was previously a Director at Michigan Corps where he led the organization in its mission of engaging Michigan expats and residents in innovative economic development initiatives.   He also led the growth and development of Kiva Detroit, the nation’s first Kiva City, by establishing a network of support service providers for entrepreneurs. His efforts helped 20 small business owners obtain interest-free microloans in 2014.   He has led youth immersion trips and work programs in the UK and the Philippines. Pete holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.

 

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

REGISTER

Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

21 June 2018

Building Your Team - Filling the Void

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

New Enterprise Forum invites anyone interested in entrepreneurship to join us at our monthly Forum to connect with entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and businesses.

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community. Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

HLX Engines

Evan Collins, Founder and CEO. Military equipment, both tactical and non-tactical, is increasingly electrified and computerized, and there is a significant need for compact, efficient, and high-quality power generation. HLX (www.hlxengines.com) has built an innovative, hybrid, multi-fuel, combustion engine, designed to improve fuel efficiency by 50%, while decreasing weight and complexity.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Building Your Team - Filling the Void

In addition, in this month's forum we have a panel of experts who will guide you through understanding importance of building a great team for your startup. Building a solid team for a startup is extremely important. Generally, founders begin with sharing roles as CEO, CTO and CMO in early stages. However, once you raise funds and gain investments from either angels or VCs, the team building exercise needs to be done with professional and thoughtful insights. As the roles evolve, the executive team and the staff you bring on-board need to be adept in “executing” business strategies, achieving the “promised” milestones and building an organization for growth and scalability. To build the business, you need a business savvy team. The panel will discuss:

  • Building high performance startup teams with limited funding
  • Managing teams for achieving milestones and growth 
  • Implementing strategies for hiring and retaining talent
  • Startup challenges like; making offers for employees and contractors, equity compensation, options, and vesting schedules etc.

This enlightening panel discussion, from entrepreneurs and investors who have gone through this journey and are eager to share their experiences, will be ideal for you and will assist you with making your company venture-ready. Come and learn about the challenges, the opportunities and the strategies in building an effective team for your venture.

We hope that this will be of greater interest and value to founders and it will be a dynamic discussion between founders, investors and the audience.

Panel:

Dave Jansen
Dave is a technology operations executive with deep background in process improvement, team building and technical infrastructure. Dave has worked and been a stakeholder in numerous startup software product companies. He has a passion for developing teams and managing process for organizations as they grow from small, dynamic groups to larger, scalable enterprises. Dave is currently the VP of Operations for Give and Take, Inc., a startup operating out of Spark in Ann Arbor. 

Melvin Muskovitz 
Mel is a member of Dykema’s Labor and Employment Practice Group, represents employers from startups to large multi-state companies, with respect to the full range of employment issues from pre-hire to post-termination.  Mel devotes a significant portion of his time counseling and assisting employers with respect to issues arising under state and federal employment laws, addressing poor performing employees, assisting in drafting employment policies, preparing and enforcing confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition provisions, and negotiating employment and severance agreements, including with highly placed corporate executives. Mel is also a frequent speaker and author on labor and employment-related matters.  Mel has been named in The Best Lawyers in America 2009 to present in the practice area of Labor and Employment Law and  named a "Lawyer of the Year" in Ann Arbor for Litigation - Labor and Employment by Best Lawyers for 2015 and 2017.  

Mel will address best practices in the hiring process, including such topics as: how to obtain meaningful information about candidates; employee vs. independent contractor; exempt/non-exempt status; critical provisions to include in offer letters and in employment, bonus and commission agreements; issues related to equity compensation agreements, including options vs. grants and vesting schedules; work-for-hire protections; and post-employment restrictions.

Kristin Welch
Kristin is an innovation enthusiast and experienced leader. Currently she is an advisor to two mobility companies SPLT and Bedestrian.  Most recently, Kristin was the Head of Business Development & Corporate Strategy at SPLT. She came to SPLT after completing an Executive MBA at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and when looking for a more mission-driven role in business. For SPLT, Kristin managed successful teams in the U.S., Mexico and Europe, leading up to (and through) an acquisition by Bosch. Kristin continues to align SPLT with strategic partners and is very focused on the future of mobility around the globe. Since then, she has devoted her full attention to the emerging field of social and environmental sustainability and promoting the tech industry in Detroit. Her previous experience was in global client engagement with Deloitte, the multi-national consulting and accounting firm. She resided in Boston, Zurich, London and New York City, focusing on key accounts and innovative projects. Kristin holds a B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University and serves on a number of Detroit-area boards. She supports non-profits in her spare time and was the project lead on a non-profit incubator in Saint Clair Shores, pulling together 10+ non-profits into a former elementary school.

Kevin Wittrup
As an early stage entrepreneur and venture partner at RSVP Capital, Kevin has been a key operator in several early stage and technology commercialization ventures, most recently BIOVIGIL Hygiene Technologies. As the co-founder and CEO of BIOVIGIL from 2011-2017, Kevin led the effort to commercialize a sophisticated healthcare technology product and build a team that operationalized the diverse aspects of the business including product development, cloud data applications, installation and maintenance services, clinical implementation and support services, and manufacturing. Kevin is also an active member of the managing board at Advanced Battery Concepts. ABC is a battery technology company based in Claire, MI. that has developed a disruptive bipolar battery technology. Kevin holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Adam V. Chiasson, Moderator

Mr. Chiasson brings more than 15 years of experience, primarily focused in Operations and Supply Chain.  He currently serves as CEO of DMAX Consulting, a strategy consultancy focused primarily on scaling operations for growth stage companies. He also currently works as an Adjunct Lecturer of Supply Chain at Eastern Michigan University, specializing in Operations Planning and Supply Chain. Previously, Mr. Chiasson served in various leadership roles at ZIVO Bioscience and Accuri Cytometers ($205M acquisition in 2011 by BD).  Prior to ascending to leadership, he was employed by Stirling Energy Systems, Visteon Corporation, and PepsiCo. He earned a BS from Michigan State University and MBA from Eastern Michigan University.  In his free time, he enjoys reading, coffee dates with his wife, Kristin and coaching his two sons, Dominic and Maxwell, in hockey and baseball.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

REGISTER

The event is FREE. Registration is not required but recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

17 May 2018

NEF Showcase Presentations and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Showcase Presentations

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community. This month we have two presenters.

Ascape Audio

Paul Schrems, CEO & Co-Founder. Ascape Audio is wireless technology design company that believes that mobile music should be - Simple. Our mission is to streamline the way millions listen to music from their smart devices. We do this by providing the most convenient and fluid personal audio solutions possible. With true wireless earbuds we allow our customers to access the thousands of songs in their pocket with simplicity and ease. Our patented smartphone battery case that recharges the earbuds prevents customers from ever having to worry about losing, connecting, or recharging them again. In this rapidly growing marketing we offer the most complete solution.

 

Note: Arbor Automation has been rescheduled for the Fall.

NEF Pitch Pit

Four entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The four entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Leann Abad, Vicinity.
    A platform that connects travelers to local tour guides for on-demand tours.
  • Blake Osecki  Modular Home & Garden
    Sustainable Do-It-Yourself project kits to help people save time and money with using patent-pending technology.
  • Gail Brown, Platters Chocolatier.
    A full-service chocolatier that specializes in designing, creating, and manufacturing gourmet chocolate custom molded items for corporate branding initiatives, promotional gifting and specialty items for all occasions.
  • Kiley Judge, Quirk
    Manufacturer of small-batch drinking vinegars from quirky fruits that would otherwise be rejected based solely on their appearance.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of three esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Toni Brownfield.  Toni works for Michigan's Small Business Development Center as a Business Development and Project Manager.   In this capacity she provides administrative, marketing, communications, and programmatic support to the Tech Team, Business Growth Team, Business Accelerator Fund (BAF), and Emerging Technologies Fund (ETF).  Prior to this Toni held a variety of positions at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) for 15 years.  In her last role as Director of Business Development Services she provided leadership direction for the day-to-day operations of the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) Services Team.  She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Sheu-Jane Gallagher.  As the principal of the S’Jane Group, Sheu-Jane consults for startups and entrepreneurial service organizations, advising on commercialization strategies and investment due diligence. Previously, she was the Director of Entrepreneurial Services at TechTown where she implemented startup incubator and accelerator programs, with a focus on program design and intake.  In addition to working at Ford and Dacoma International, Sheu-Jane taught mechanical engineering at Wayne State University. From 2012 to 2015, Sheu-Jane served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Michigan Commission on Community Action and Economic Opportunity, a board that advises the governor and legislature on the state of poverty in Michigan and recommends changes to policies and programs that support the poor and low-income.  She holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from Rutgers University with a special expertise in biomedical engineering.

Gregg Hammerman.  Greg is a serial entrepreneur who is currently the CEO of Larky, a company that builds engagement and loyalty programs that help financial institutions, health insurers, universities, and media companies connect with their members and subscribers at the right time and place.  In this role he has raised funding from angels and VCs.  Previous to that was the head of Business Development and Strategy for gloStream, a provider of billing, collections, electronic medical record and practice management services.  In 1997, he co-founded the digital publishing company Techstreet that was subsequently sold to Thomson Scientific.   Gregg has been active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for over 15 years.

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Registration link available on the home page. Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

19 April 2018

Financials: Tying Your Financials to Your Story

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Advaita

Sorin Draghici, Ph.D., Founder and CEO

The company’s mission is to  enable  a true  personalized medicine approach by providing advanced tools that can leverage omics and genomics data to improve drug development and patient care. These technologies, available either as SaaS or concierge services, can be used to improve the success of clinical trials by distinguishing between respondents and non-respondents, design optimal treatments by distinguishing between more and less aggressive types of diseases, repurpose drugs based and predict side-effects.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Tying Your Financials to Your Story

In addition, we have a panel of experts who will guide you through understanding importance of financials in presenting your venture to investors. There are certain things investors are looking for in the financials presented by entrepreneurs in their executive summary or initial investor pitch when they are seeking funding. Although no forecast can be counted on with certainty, investors look for a reasonable business model, expectations of sales growth and cash flow, P&L forecasts, and valid assumptions behind any plan. They also look for red flags: sure signs that the numbers are not to be trusted and that the founding team might need too much help. In this month's forum, we want to focus on what founders can do to use Financials to emphasize their story (Plans behind the Financials) - what they want investors to know to reinforce the Investor Thesis.  We are including some founders on our panel to tell us what worked and didn't work from the founder perspective.  We hope that this will be of greater interest and value to founders and it will be a dynamic discussion between investors, founders and the audience. 

Panel:

David Gregorka, Venture Partner, Baird Capital

Gregorka is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. and works to source, evaluate, and oversee investment opportunities in the healthcare sector, with a particular emphasis on healthcare IT. Previously, Gregorka co-founded HealthMedia, now called Wellness & Prevention, Inc. (a Johnson & Johnson Company), where he served in multiple roles, including CFO and Operations VP. In prior organizations he served on the executive management teams of a start-up company that developed tools for managing and analyzing large data sets and an international public health and environmental standards and certification organization. An active member of the Michigan entrepreneurial community, Dave serves as a member of the Oversight Committee for the University of Michigan - Michigan Translation and Commercialization for Life Sciences Program (U-M MTRAC), the State of Michigan Advisory Board of Examiners and the advisory boards of several emerging companies. Gregorka received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, as well as MBA and M.S. degrees from the University of Michigan.

Gerry Roston, CEO, Civionics

Gerry Roston serves as the CEO of Civionics, a University of Michigan startup that delivers intelligent sensor-based systems to manufacturers to help them minimize unplanned downtime; and is an Executive-in-Residence at TechTown Detroit, where he helps entrepreneurs transition their ideas into sustainable businesses.

Colleen Spencer, CFO, Genomenon

Colleen Spencer has an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School and has been a pillar of the Ann Arbor start-up community for over 15 years.  She began her career with one of the Big Five accounting firms and has held lead financial positions with several companies before becoming part of the local start-up community.  She has held the position of controller at EDF Ventures and CFO positions at several early start-ups, including HandyLab, Tissue Regeneration Systems, and Tangent Medical Technologies.  Currently she is CFO at NEF coaching graduate, Genomenon.

Moderator:

Stewart V. (Stew) Nelson, CEO, Mayasil LLC.

If you are active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in SE Michigan, it is likely that you have met Stew Nelson. Stew is the past President of the New Enterprise Forum. Stew is a serial entrepreneur with Founder’s title in Mayasil, LLC, GAPro Systems, Adrelenventis, LLC, Solidspeed Networks and Geostrip Systems just to mention a few.  As an active angel investor, he has ownership equity positions in Blaze Medical Devices, Sentinl, SurClean, Catalyst, Family Mint, among others.  Stew is a retired pilot with over 30 years of military and commercial experience and more recently as a commercial insurance professional with Kapnick Insurance Group.  Not satisfied with retirement three times now, Stew is currently serving as CEO of Mayasil, LLC.  Stew is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan, BA, 69 and Eastern Michigan University, MBA 92.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

15 March 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

MedKairos

Michael Moore, Founder and CEO.  MedKairos is automating the cancer biopsy assessment process. 1 out of every 5 biopsies taken fail to collect adequate tissue samples to come to a diagnosis. We are a medical technology company building the Bioptic™ system to increase the accuracy of cancer sample collection and reduce the time and labor required to reach a diagnosis. MedKairos has developed the Bioptic platform to verify sample quality at the point of care to make sure that patients will only have to undergo a biopsy procedure once. Bioptic™ uses a proprietary cartridge, camera, and image processing software package to verify that a sample has enough tissue to make a diagnosis - work traditionally done by a pathologist and a microscope.

 

NEF Pitch Pit

Four entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The four entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Gail Brown, Platters Chocolatier. A full service chocolatier that specializes in designing, creating, and manufacturing gourmet chocolate custom molded items for corporate branding initiatives, promotional gifting and specialty items for all occasions.
  • Jack Griffin, FoodFinder. Non-profit organization that uses technology to directly inform a food insecure child and their family of the nearest place where they can receive help.
  • Sulaiman Mustapha, RAYN Inc. A philanthropic social media application where volunteers can share first hand experiences of their work by using photos or videos to help donors get on board.
  • Robert Vogt IV, IOSiX ELD. A pioneer in the nascent Electronic Logging Device space, selling intelligent connected-truck hardware to players across the industry.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Sanjib Chowdhury is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the Eastern Michigan University. He leads the university wide entrepreneurship curricular and has developed and executed several co-curricular programs to engage students, faculty and community entrepreneurs.   Dr. Chowdhury's scholarly papers have been published in several high level scholarly journals such as Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Venturing, Journal of Business Research, Human Resource Management, etc. He has presented in several academic and professional conferences. In addition, he serves in the editorial board of several entrepreneurship journals. Dr. Chowdhury also serves as a consultant for a variety of small and mid-sized businesses.

Dave Haviland worked for 5 start-ups before starting his consulting firm, Phimation Strategy Group.  He has raised or helped raise $15MM in venture capital and $40MM in government capital, was COO of 3 start-ups, and has helped his clients launch dozens of new products and services.  Phimation is a management consulting firm focused on Stage 2 companies – those who have made it past the start-up phase and are working to grow. Dave is a featured blogger for Crain's Detroit Business on matters related to business growth, speaks regularly to professional associations in Michigan, and has been actively involved with the Small Business Administration of Michigan, the Association for Corporate Growth and Ann Arbor SPARK.  He also contributes insight and articles on Stage 2-related topics to industry publications and is frequently quoted as a Stage 2 subject matter expert in outlets such as inc. Magazine and the American Management Association's publications.

Eric Mandell is the founder of Mandell Growth Consulting, a consulting firm that works with venture capital backed startups to help them accelerate their growth by providing digital marketing strategy and execution, data analysis and data architecture strategy and on-site optimization.  Prior to starting his consulting business, Eric worked as a User Acquisition Manager with LearnVest where he managed the organization's marketing budget across multiple paid marketing channels, identifying and vetting new potential marketing partners, implementing new campaigns, running A/B tests throughout the user experience, and backend data analysis. As a Consultant in the Strategy and Operations practice of Deloitte Consulting, his projects included identifying and quantifying the impact of numerous trends across a multitude of sectors, designing a future state vision for a media company's product data, developing a quality improvement strategy for a large national health plan, redesigning the pursuit and proposal process for a large national health plan, and developing governance and metrics to support the closing of regulatory findings for a leading financial services institution.

Paula Sorrell is the Director of the Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan, an institute that has provided business and technical support to over 800 companies.  The organization's Innovation Services won an award an Entrepreneurship Award from the International Economic Development Council last year.  She recently served as V.P. of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the MEDC, overseeing $1B under management to support Michigan’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including university research and tech transfer, technology service providers, tech incubators, seed funding programs, portfolio investments and fund of funds. With a focus on leveraging private funding into early tech development, expanded private and federal investment leverage from 6:1 to 35:1 and expanded the pipeline of new tech companies three-fold. Primary focus was building companies built on strong science from university research, including creating state initiatives for First Customer program, Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization program, and Technology Commercialization Assistance program for early stage companies.

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Registration link available on the home page. Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

15 February 2018

NEF Celebrates 32 Years

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

The February 2018 meeting is our 32nd birthday party, where we celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. Join in on the fun as we celebrate entrepreneurialism by awarding the 2017 NEF Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Guess which 2017 NEF Showcase Presenters will take home pitch awards for Best Presentation, Best Technology and Best Business Plan. Be a part of coaching, perfecting and connecting at NEF where entrepreneurs rule!

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

Showcase Presenter

CoPilot Vision Systems

John Gray, Co-Founder & President

CoPilot Vision Systems is developing a rear view vision system for the commercial heavy duty and Do It Yourself truck rental market. The system is portable, and provides a 180° view across the rear of the vehicle. It is a straightforward solution to enable the driver to see what is behind the vehicle; improving driver safety and efficiency, and reducing fleets insurance costs. One patent has been issued and a second patent for a multi-camera vision system is under 4th office action stage review.

 

2017 NEF Entrepreneur of the Year

Jeff Mason -  CEO, Groundspeed Analytics, Inc.

Jeff Mason is the Founder and CEO of Groundspeed Analytics. Formed in early 2016, this innovative insurance tech start up utilizes machine learning to transform unstructured business documents into streamlined, actionable data. By making the process more nimble and efficient, insurance carriers and brokers now have a game-changing tool to meet their goals. Groundspeed recently closed on a $2 million investment.

Prior to Groundspeed, Jeff served as SVP and executive committee member of Chelsea Rhone, an insurance holding company where he led sales, marketing and all innovation efforts.  It was during this time Jeff first caught the entrepreneur bug and found QAreader.com, an Insurtech SaaS company and Evolucent, a risk management consultancy. Jeff has an MBA with high distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business as well as a keen knowledge of all things Star Wars.

2017 NEF Showcase Presenter Awards

Here are the contenders for the 2017 Showcase presenter awards. They worked hard. They all deserve congratulations on their presentations, but only three will be taking home an award for their outstanding efforts.

  • Carrot, Michael Antaran, CEO
  • Circadian Risk, Daniel Young, CEO
  • Clicktivated, Chris Roebuck, CEO
  • Clingfish, Tasneen Bowe, CEO
  • Melius Outcomes, AkkeNeel Talsma, CEO
  • MI Padrino, Kimberly Gamez, CEO
  • MySwimPro, Fares Ksebati, CEO
  • SpellBound, Christina York, CEO
  • TwoScoreTwo, Sam Savant, CEO

The winners’ names remain secret until show time, even they do not know which award they have won.

Agenda:

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Showcase Presenter: 

18 January 2018

NEF Showcase Presentation and Pitch Pit

ForumLocation: 

Ann Arbor SPARK Central, 330 E. Liberty St, Lower Level, Ann Arbor

Showcase Presentation

We showcase an outstanding team of entrepreneurs who are looking to raise capital for their venture. They have gone through an extensive coaching from our experienced coaches and these founders are eager to present their venture to the entrepreneurial community at this event.

This event gives the start-up the opportunity to practice presenting to investors and others interested in the Detroit Area entrepreneurial community.  Each presentation will reflect NEF training on what is important to communicate and what not to do. They would greatly appreciate your feedback, insights and encouragement. You will also learn a few tips and techniques in sharpening your own pitch for your venture.

Join us at this meeting to ask questions, keep pace with local entrepreneurs, and connect with people who support the local start-up community.

Mandy & Pandy

Christopher Lin, Founder and CEO.  The strength of Mandy and Pandy lies in its magic power to arouse curiosity among young kids, who will then be engaged to learn the language with interest and fun. Everything in the book (texts pictures, activities, etc.) was meticulously developed for this purpose. Mandy and Pandy Co. was formed in 2007 with success in the book market - teaching American kids Chinese.  With Chinese becoming more important in the global economic and cultural landscape, the company was re-invigorated in 2016 with a more ambitious B2B model selling to schools.  The proven content is being digitized to scale and penetrate the school market.

NEF Pitch Pit

Four entrepreneurs will each give a four-minute pitch of their business idea to a panel of investor judges in a “Shark Tank” format. Prototypes and visual aids are encouraged but no Power Point presentations. After each pitch, the judges will give detailed feedback and score the business. At the end of the evening, the person with the highest score will receive a $100 cash prize plus all additional prize money provided by the audience.

The four entrepreneurs, selected from a large pool of applicants are:

  • Erin Barbossa, Intuissa. On-premises preventative, proactive therapy service program to help companies improve employee engagement and productivity.
  • Colt Correa, Digibit. The world's first wearable game system for your smart device - you be come the mobile game controller.
  • Curtis McFall, Camp Gig. Hosted software platform to help summer camps find staff.
  • Brad Wilson, Write About. A classroom writing community and publishing platform built by teachers to motivate students to write.

Pitch Pit Judges:

A panel of four esteemed judges will provide feedback and score the teams.

Melanie de Vries
Melanie is a Technology Business Consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where she continues a long career in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  She advises start-ups on strategic planning, market analysis and positioning, brand development, and customer discovery.  Melanie also served as the senior marketing officer for Deloitte Consulting, The Learning Care Group and ForeSee Results.  Most recently she served as CEO with edtech start-up PaymentScholar.

Moses Lee
Moses has contributed to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem as a mentor and instructor at the Desai Accelerator, the UofM Center for Entrepreneurship, TechArb and Ann Arbor SPARK.  In his journey as a serial entrepreneur, he co-founded Seelio which was awarded the Startup of the Year in 2015 and was acquired by Keypath Education. He is now the CEO of the Michigan Language Center, the longest running private English language school in Ann Arbor.

Sireesha Mandava
In 2012, Sireesha launched TraQtion, a quality and compliance SaaS business within NSF International.  Under her leadership as the Global Managing Director, TraQtion has become  a profitable, multimillion dollar international business. Outside of work, she and her husband financially support 69 underprivileged children in India to provide basic needs. Locally, Sireesha is involved several humanitarian activities and enjoys mentoring high school students and young adults in college prep and career planning.

Shamir Ozery
For the past 12 years, Shamir has worked with a wide variety of clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to early stage startups. He helps entrepreneurs build and execute lean marketing plans that maximize existing resources and create scalable growth. He also teaches Entrepreneurial Marketing at UofM’s Center for Entrepreneurship. Shamir lives in Ann Arbor with his wife and 2 children and spends his spare time researching blockchain technology and ways it will change the world.

Mark your calendar. The meeting opens at 5:00 pm with networking and appetizers. Around 5:45 pm, the program portion of the meeting begins with an introduction from our President including upcoming entrepreneurial events and past NEF Showcase Presenter news. The program continues with our featured Showcase Presenter(s) who are graduates of the NEF coaching process. Depending on the month or otherwise noted, the program includes the engaging NEF Pitch Pit or intriguing topic and panel. The program typically finishes at 7:15 pm with more networking afterwards. Please feel welcome to join us.

Registration link available on the home page. Registration recommended for planning purposes.

Showcase Presenter: 

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